A retired police officer who is suing a man for the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy has spoken of 37 years of pain, guilt and anger towards the authorities over his friend’s death in moving testimony in the high court.
John Murray, 66, said he had been left with no choice but to raise a civil claim for the nominal amount of £ 1 against Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk because “the authorities would not act”.
He testified in central London on Thursday, saying that on the day of Fletcher’s assassination, April 17, 1984, the two officers had changed positions while talking to people protesting against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime outside the embassy.
“If I had swapped places with her one more time, it would have been me,” he said. “But if I had been shot, I might have survived – she was shot and she died… I was very ashamed. She died in my place as far as I was concerned …
“I still have very bad dreams. I see Yvonne every day, I know she’s with me here – I know. She was one of my best friends and I let her down. I still feel responsible for what that happened to her. “
Murray said Fletcher, who was 25, was about three yards away from him when he heard what he thought was a firework before turning around to see his hit colleague on the ground. He said as he rocked her head in his hands that he promised he would bring the killer to justice.
Murray recalled that she had to formally identify her at the hospital and stay for the autopsy, Murray said: “I remember she was lying in the morgue – cold, naked, scared. I could not do anything to help her. It was too late, I wanted to do something, but I could not. ”
He said he had to get the tube home from the hospital and never received any treatment for the trauma he suffered.
Murray told the court he sent hundreds of letters to the prime minister, interior minister and metropolitan police commissioner asking about the investigation into Fletcher’s killer, but received no response.
He said that when Tony Blair visited Gaddafi in 2004, Murray was told in advance that Fletcher would be “at the top of the agenda” and even asked to accompany the prime minister, but was met with a refusal.
Murray said he was “disgusted” to find that “it was not discussed. The purpose of the meeting in the desert in the tent with Gaddafi was for business deals, oil deals, construction deals, nothing to do with Yvonne.” Blair later told lawmakers. , that Fletcher was “part of the conversation”.
Murray said his hopes were raised when Mabrouk was arrested by Scotland Yard in 2015 only to be crushed two years later when detectives said they dropped the investigation because key evidence could not be used in court for the sake of the national security. Murray explained his current claim against Mabrouk for assault and violence, saying: “If the authorities would not take any action, then the only option for me was [to do so]. “
Mabrouk is not accused of firing the shots that killed Fletcher, but of being a “key participant” in the decision to use violence. He has denied any involvement but will not attend the trial, which is expected to end Friday.